The satellite-carrying space rocket dubbed Naro-1 is awaiting a second launch attempt around 5 p.m. on Wednesday. If the blastoff is successful, Korea will become the 10th country to send a home-grown satellite-carrying rocket into space.
◆ Final Countdown Simulation
On Tuesday, a final countdown simulation began at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province at 10:30 a.m. and went smoothly.
Scientists conducted an additional checkup until 1 a.m. on Tuesday as an electric signal error was detected in the process of the KLSV-1 being raised upright on the launch pad the previous day. No more errors were detected.
Min Kyung-joo, the chief of the space center, said, "We thought of delaying the schedule but decided it'll be OK if we conduct an additional checkup till late at night, so we raised the rocket vertically and checked the system again."
The countdown simulation was conducted without fuel and oxidizing agent. The rocket itself, the communication system at the space center, the launch operating system, and the tracking radar that will track the Naro's trajectory after the blastoff worked normally.
◆ Blastoff at 5 p.m.
At 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the Naro control committee will make the final decision when to launch the rocket taking weather conditions and trajectories of satellites overhead into consideration.
There will be a window of opportunity for about two hours between 4:30 and 6:40 p.m. At the moment, the most likely launch time is 5 p.m.
Weather is also important. The blastoff will be delayed if an electrical malfunction occurs in the rocket as a result of rain falling within a 50 km radius or lightning striking within a 20 km radius. Currently there seem to be no notable abnormal weather conditions in and around the space center.
Park Kyung-hee, an official stationed at the space center from the Korea Meteorological Administration, said, "Clouds will gather around launch time in the afternoon but they won't obstruct the launch, and temperature and humidity will pose no problem."
◆ No More Mistakes
Fuel and oxidizing agent will be injected two hours before blastoff. The hoisting device will be removed 50 minutes before the launch. Fifteen minutes before the launch, an automatic launch system will be activated that will automatically stop countdown if any technical problem occurs.
During the previous attempt on Aug. 19 last year, the launch was suspended due to a software error with only 7 minutes and 56 seconds left.
The Naro will fly for only nine minutes until the Science and Technology Satellite-2 it is carrying separates from the rocket. But it will be possible to ascertain whether the launch is successful about 100 minutes after blastoff when the STSat-2 enters orbit and sends signals to the Arctic station of Svalbard of Norway.
The launch's final success will be confirmed if STSat-2 sends signals to the KAIST Satellite Technology Research Center in Daejeon 11 hours and 30 minutes after the launch.